Obama:'We're Still Trying to Recover;' NBER: Last Recession Ended 4 Yrs Ago

September 21, 2013 - 12:37 PM

Presiodent Barack Obama

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama--now eight months into his second term--said today that the U.S. economy is "still trying to recover" from events that took place five years ago before he took office. At the same time, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which dates the beginning and ending of recessions in the U.S. economy, insists that the last recession ended more than four years ago.

"It was five years ago this week that a financial crisis on Wall Street spread to Main Street, and very nearly turned a recession into a depression," Obama said in his weekly address.

"In a matter of months, millions of Americans were robbed of their jobs, their homes, their savings  after a decade in which they’d already been working harder and harder to just get by," said Obama. "It was a crisis from which we’re still trying to recover."

According to the NBER, the last recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Since June 2009, which was the fifth full month of Obama's presidency, the economy has been in a growth cycle,

In the post-World War II era, according to NBER, the average growth cycle has lasted 58.4 months. The United States is now in the 51st month of the Obama growth cycle. If this growth period were to last as long as the average post-World War II growth cycle, the next recession would begin in about seven months.

During the Obama growth cycle, according to data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy has not grown as vigorously as it has in previous growth cycles. In fact, under Obama, annual growth in GDP has not even hit 3.0 percent.  In 2009, the year the recession ended, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined 2.8 percent. In 2010, it grew 2.5 percent. In 2011, it grew 1.8 percent. And, in 2012, it 2.8 percent.

The previous recession ended in November 2001. In 2002, GDP grew 1.8 percent. Then in 2003, it grew 2.8 percent. Then in 2004, it grew 3.8 percent. In 2005, the first year of Bush's second term, it grew 3.4 percent.

The recession before that ended in March 1991. That year, the economy contracted by 0.1 percent. But then in 1992, it grew by 3.6 percent, In 1993, it grew by 2.7 percent. And, in 1994, it grew by 4.0 percent.

During the 56 months that Obama has been president, the national unemployment rate has never dropped below 7.3 percent. Also during Obama's presidency, the labor force participation rate--the percentage of people 16 or older who have jobs or are actively seeking them--has dropped from 65.7 percent to 63.2 percent. It is now at the lowest level since August 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president.